Cuban-American Attorney Jose Pertierra spoke with Cuban and foreign journalists on Thursday at the office of the Cuban Journalists Association (UPEC) in Havana about his experiences in El Paso, Texas, during the trial against terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.
Pertierra, who represents Venezuela for the extradition of the notorious assassin, explained that he was in El Paso, Texas, monitoring the trial against Posada Carriles at the request of Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro.
During the trial, in which terrorist Luis Posada Carriles was accused and tried for lying during an immigration hearing and not for his terrorist actions against the Cuban people - including the bombing in midair of a Cubana airliner on October 6th, 1976, resulting in the death of all 73 people on board -, Pertierra also worked as a reporter, informing the world by way of his articles what was happening in El Paso, due to the silence of the US media outlets about his case.
While in El Paso, many other terrorists, members of Alfa 66 and the 2506 brigades, linked to Posada Carriles, threatened Jose Pertierra with death. But, said Pertierra, not everyone was hostile to him in El Paso. He explained that a Mexican resident offered him to stay at his home after learning of the threats against him and expressed his admiration for the Bolivarian process in Venezuela and for the Cuban Revolution.
He said that there were times in which Judge Kathleen Cardone had closed the doors during the trial, due to documents that were revealed and were considered a national security issue, particularly after the renowned terrorist stated that he would disclose all he knew regarding his ties to the CIA. Pertierra stressed that he is not a psychologist but, "I could tell that Posada Carriles is a cold-blooded professional terrorist."
Jose Pertierra added that Kathleen Cardone allowed small trials within the trial itself. She allowed a mini-trial against Cuba, against Cuban witnesses, and even against the NY Times, which interviewed the terrorist in 1998, an occasion when he confessed he had planned attacks against Cuba. The jury heard hours of recordings of the interview. "In my experience as an attorney, I have never seen a federal judge allow this to happen, it is not appropriate in a trial; there were moments in which weeks passed without ever hearing the name of Posada Carriles mentioned," pointed out Pertierra.
The Cuban-American attorney said that he was not surprised by the final verdict. There was tension throughout the trial, said Pertierra, tension because the evidence presented by Cuba was strong. "While Posada Carriles' defense lawyer lied about his terrorist actions, Posada's voice was presented before the jury confessing the bombing of the Cubana airliner in 1976. A show was performed by the defense and the judge allowed it, and that is why the jury was confused and tired after three months of the same show. That is why I was not surprised when it was announced that he was found not guilty", commented Pertierra.
When asked about the work of the prosecution regarding Posada Carriles, Pertierra said that they did all they could to have Posada found guilty. "They worked long hard hours. They even had tears in their eyes after the terrorist was found not guilty; I blame the judge for allowing irregularities but not the prosecution; I think they worked well."
Pertierra stressed that there is always a possibility of extraditing Posada Carriles back to Venezuela. "There are international conventions and even an accord between the US and Venezuela. There is obviously no political will on behalf of the US government. The US government, said Pertierra, has a double standard. It doesn't want to accuse Posada Carriles as a terrorist; he is protected by the White House, and he's currently walking freely on the streets of Miami, but, on the other hand, Washington entered Pakistan not only to capture but also to kill Osama Bin Laden, thinking that the move was justified because they are allegedly fighting terrorism. There is no respect for international law".
Pertierra added that the Cuban Five had to go to the US to defend the Cuban people from the terrorist actions carried out by Posada Carriles and other terrorists that have been and continue being supported by the US government. Instead of accusing Posada of terrorism, Washington tried the five Cuban political prisoners who were fighting terrorism inside extreme right wing groups based in Florida. It is hard, said the Cuban- American attorney, "to legally defend Cuba in the US; it is difficult to find a judge courageous enough to do so."
The attorney, of Cuban origin, said that after the trial he "thought of the Cuban Five, of Gustino di Celmo, of the Cuban people. I was proud when I saw at the trial the first evidence coming from Cuba in a US federal court. It was exactly what Cuba had been saying for so many years and for the first time in a US federal court the evidence showed that Cuba is right. Posada Carriles placed the bomb in the Copacabana Hotel when Fabio di Celmo was killed and Cuba proved it, despite the fact that the evidence fell on the deaf ears of the US federal judge." "At that moment I felt proud of being Cuban," concluded Jose Pertierra.
The President of the Cuban Journalists Association (UPEC), Tubal Paez, also present at the meeting, announced that Jose Pertierra will receive the institution's Felix Elmuza Medal on Friday, for his work in favor of spreading the truth about the acts of terrorism against Cuba.